Ray Bradbury: Something Wicked This Way Comes

If you haven't read Bradbury since you were a kid, it's time.  Something Wicked This Way Comes is such an amazing book (and the movie's not bad either) that you will literally be transported back to the time you first read it, and you'll feel like a kid again. 

Bradbury loved Green Town, Illinois, his fictional childhood town, and by his prose it's apparent that he also loved being a boy.  In the character of Will's father, Charles, Bradbury allows us to feel a little sorry for our old selves.  Charles wants to run with the boys, and be young. 

William Halloway and James Nightshade are our heroes.  Will is blonde, and Jim is dark.  They are opposites, but are best friends, and will turn fourteen together in a week.  When a lightning-rod salesman comes into town he gives Jim a lightning rod to put up on his roof, warning him that the storm will strike his house. If you remember, it's much more than a storm. 

Even their names are perfect.  If you're a teacher and plan to teach this novel, you must tell your students what hallow means, and what nightshade is.  When reading Bradbury, keep a dictionary handy, because he does not often waste a good name, or use the wrong word.  His word choices might not have always been intentional, but I gather his subconscious mind was very sharp. 

Charles Halloway works at the library.  This is another reason to love Bradbury - he flaunts his love of books, and if you don't love them enough, he'll make you love them more.  When the boys visit Will's dad at work that night, they find out that Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show is coming to their town.  The elder Halloway has a bad feeling about the carnival: not only is it the wrong time of year (fall), but the train pulls in at three a.m., the time when men are closest to death. 

And then the boys meet Mr. Dark, the Illustrated Man.  And the real fun begins.


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